Searching for reason ‘despire’ seems apropos
Updated: October 10, 2012 3:56PM
Is “despire’’ a word?
I’m looking for a word that is the opposite of “aspire.’’ And “decline’’ or “descend’’ don’t seem right to me.
The word “aspire’’ means to seek to attain a particular goal.
Americans historically are a nation of “aspirers” — is that a word, also? We always have been looking to better ourselves. We aspire to something better.
I’m wondering if that still is the case.
What’s caused me to ask myself that question are teacher strikes.
There was the Chicago teachers’ strike, that strike in Lake Forest and now one in Evergreen Park. I don’t know all the issues. And I don’t know which side had more right on its side in any of the strikes.
But I know that I hear lots of parents and citizens interviewed on TV news. And a common response is that teachers are greedy, that they should be happy just to have a job and that, “I have to be satisfied with what I get. They should be satisfied with what they get.’’
It would seem natural that people seeing that someone has better wages and benefits would aspire to those wages and benefits for himself or herself.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case so much anymore.
Rather than say, “Hey, Look what they have. I want it, too,’’ a lot of people are saying, “Hey, look what they have. I don’t have that so they should not have it, either.’’
The result would seem to be a pressure downward, so that everyone winds up with less, instead of an upward pressure that would lift everyone.
This can’t be a good thing for the struggling middle class, which everyone in politics claims to be worried about.
That’s why I’m looking for a new word either to replace “aspire’’ or at least complement it as an antonym.
The word “despire’’ exists in a couple of forms. One is as a carryover from medieval times in which “despire’’ generally meant the same as “despite.’’
The other use of the word “despire’’ I found in something called the Urban Dictionary.
That defines “despire’’ as to desire and despise.
We might think we can’t desire something and despise it at the same time.
But it seems as if we have no trouble desiring good stuff for ourselves while not wanting others to have that same good stuff.